Match turns on Barker’s red

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Iden FC travelled to Ninfield and although missing key players, the football team still managed to field a strong starting eleven and four subs. Darren Warne sent Iden in front with a glancing header provided by Chris Gould on the ten minute mark. Young Kyran Wall terrorised his marker during the first half, turning him inside and out, and was unlucky not to get himself a goal.

Many missed chances for the travelling team were punished before the break with Ninfield firing past Tim Oakman into the Iden goal. A comfortable first half for Iden not breaking sweat, yet a score 1-1 that suggests differently. Big Franky Walker took a muscular knock during the first period so his replacement, 67-year old Alec Tiltman, was poised for a 45 minute stint at right back. Along with Walker, the captain Tom Harris was replaced by John Barker making his season début.

It was evident that Ninfield wanted the points more than Iden, fighting for every tackle, appealing all decisions, and they were rewarded when a cross was cleared to the edge of the box to the home side’s skipper, who slammed home past the sprawling Oakman. An altercation between Barker and Ninfield’s number 12 led to Barker grabbing and pushing the player who deliberately spat in Barker’s face. This gave the referee no choice, but to give Barker red – with the spitter getting lucky with no punishment as that incident went unnoticed by the ref.

Ninfield lead increased Route One style. A big boot, a running forward and a finish made it 3-1. Sam Cooper and Jake Bryant twice combined later in the game only for the goalkeeper to save brilliantly. A 3-1 loss and it is now clear that Iden’s season  is all about the cups, the league competition will be more hindrance than enjoyment. Man of the match was Luke Wills.